Monday, January 24, 2011

with or without you...

In amidst nearly crying while listening to "With or Without You" by U2 this morning on my drive to work, I figure I'm feeling a little emotionally vulnerable at the moment.

That's a nice term isn't it? Emotionally vulnerable.

This came to the fore on Saturday, at the end of a very long and very fruitless day of 'wedding stuff'. The day I tried on dresses that were frustratingly un-me. The day we went to wineries and were given information package after information package quoting $85-$120 a head. At one place, we were told that girls who drop $25k on their wedding were ridiculous, and nobody should need to pay that much. This same place had quoted us $85 a head, plus $600 to use their crappy gazebo for the ceremony, plus more for the chef there to make pies, or cakes, etc etc. So, ok, it wouldn't be quite $25k, but I don't think she has much perspective of the sheer cost of things, particularly when you start looking at a photographer for $3k+, and a dress for $2k+ (probably) and then all the random crap you're expected to have.
Anyway, that wasn't my point, that's just me venting, and setting the scene.
I consider that I did a lot of my 'growing up' in the area where we were- on the Mornington Peninsula.
I spent the first 12 or 13 years of my life on a 21 acre hobby farm, running around paddocks and having imaginary adventures with the family dog, or riding my pony around the dam.
Then we moved to Red Hill, where we had a beautiful property. We planted cherry and lemon trees, had the garden landscaped, my Dad planted gum trees up the long drive. When I turned 18, a bunch of friends from highschool bought me 18 seedlings, all native trees, and I planted them by myself in the paddock, and let them be. When we had to put down my pony, Cocoa, after he had been my companion for most of my life (he was, I think, in his 20s when it was time for him to go), we burried him and one of Mum's horses in one of the paddocks, where we planted a grove of trees. In highschool I had a band, and one of our 'famous songs' (haha) was called 'Shady Grove', and was about that place.

I had gone back a couple of years ago and was surprised at how big the trees were.  I think last time I was there, with a couple of friends, I was overwhelmed by the thrill of 'tresspassing' on my old home- we walked up the driveway and nobody was there.
I went back this time and as we drove up I broke down and cried quietly. The trees starting to bear fruit (we never got to eat them as we left before they were mature enough), the tall line of gums up the drive. The fact that the people weren't home; that I don't think they're usually home- only on holidays. At the beautiful gardens. At the fact that my mother sold this place to move to a snobby suburb to be near her parents, when she could have feasably rented it out, or something. And I don't know why this made me cry. I think the last part of my 'growing up' was done there. The property is spectacular, the house is amazing. Maybe I think I could have been living there- Nic and I, even though it's too far from anything. Maybe I'm just emotionally vulnerable and needed to ahve a cry and what we've lost.
Maybe I just like to cry. (Also a valid theory).

And it nearly happened again, as I said, on my way to work.
U2 is one of Dad's favourite bands, and I was stuck by the fact that he used "With or Without You" with some relevance toward his and Mum's relationship, before they split up. I think it was meant to be touching. I thought it was a strange choice of song. I can't remember the exact context. Maybe he thought it was "their song", I can't recall...
And it's funny because even though it was 'Dad's song' for Mum (I think), it strangely represents Mum, and who she has become since the relationship ended. I mean, it's more the chorus, I suppose. I could do an in-depth analysis of the verses and how I could apply them, but we got up this morning at 5.50am and did an hour spin class so I feel tired and that would require too much brain power.
Unless you've been living under a rock, here is the important bit:
I can't live,
With or without you.
Mum and Dad fought a lot before they got the divorce. Dad would usually leave, then get Mum to take him back. Leave, ask to come back, again and again. Eventually Mum told him to leave, after a big fight. He tried to 'date' her, you know, find the old romance, patch things up, but she stood firm. She said she was sick of being a 'meek' person. Dad eventually gave up, told her he never wanted to see her again, and apart from once, accidentially, they haven't (happy wedding times ahead, hey?).
Anyway, my Dad, after several years, and a very patient, very loving, very supportive partner (who he has been with since very soon after they divorced), is over my mother, as much as a person can be over someone after 19 years of marriage. He is happy, has a good-paying job, is living somewhere he always wanted to live, and gets to sit out on the porch of his beautiful Queensland house most evenings throughout the entire year, in shorts and a t-shirt.
And strangely, even though 'Mum ended it', she seems to be the one left hanging on.
It's as though she had this idea in her head that hasn't come to fruition, and can't be content without a man. Feeling now like she's never going to get a man (which is exactly the wrong attitude to take), she's fallen into a bit of a funk. She recalls him constantly as the bad guy, as though her slate is clean, and she was not as much to blame for the end of the marriage as he was. Which is why it made me think of the song.
She was so unhappy with him, so downtrodden, and yet now, she seems no happier, and more lonely.

And anyway, that was just the thoughts I had that made me a little sad, and I felt like I should write about that song, because it's an amazing song.
I'm hoping to go up to Townsville to see my Dad & his partner in the middle of this year. They are so welcoming, and happy, and they like to go out and see things and adventure and eat out. They are more like the family I want, and would love to have around and see all the time, then the gloom and doom and seems to linger around my mother. Shame they're a 4 hour flight away.

Sorry anybody who reads, I think you're learning more about my mother than you are about me!

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